Monday, December 8, 2008

Wipe That Smile Off Your Face! - BMV's New Policy

Channel 6 is reporting that the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles adopted a policy last month that restricts glasses, hats, scarves -- and even smiles -- in driver's license photographs.

According to Dennis Rosebrough, BMV spokesman, the new rules imposed last month were deemed necessary so that facial recognition software can spot fraudulent license applications.

2008 has been a fun year over at the BMV. In February, it was the problem BMV had matching social security numbers with names of drivers The BMV actually suggested that some motorists whose names didn't match the social records change their name. Then last month, the BMV's boneheaded (and undoubtedly unconstitutional) policy against combinations of letters and numbers on license plates that have a religious meaning came to light. Now we have the BMV telling motorists they can't smile when they have their photograph taken for a new driver's license. Unfortunately these strange policies proposals have been grabbing the headlines instead of the significant operational improvements at BMV.

I am not sure what BMV officials were thinking when these policies were adopted. While the policies might be missing the mark, they certainly are entertaining to read about.


Diana Vice said...

It sounds more like a mug shot to me.

varangianguard said...

Long ago I had a job where I sometimes took passport photos. I always told the customers -not- to smile, because when a customs officer would be looking at the passport, likely you would not be smiling.

That same philosophy would seem valid for driver's license photos as well (even though I'm sure the BMV was thinking about that themselves).

Paul K. Ogden said...


A key difference is that you show your driver's license all the time as an ID. Your passport you just use occasionaly, most likely. A bad (non-smiling) passport photo can be tolerated better than a bad driver's license photo.

varangianguard said...

You're projecting. Just because an I.D. portrait is of you not smiling, doesn't make it a "bad" photo.

Unless, of course, one is constantly smiling like a witless loobie?